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27th Feb 2024

Scientists are developing portable women’s health device that can help diagnose PCOS

Anna Martin

Scientists are developing portable women's health device

Women’s health can get complicated

There are appointments, blood tests, health referrals and that’s if you can even get an appointment, never mind the waiting lists.

Yet it seems that scientists are trying to make things a bit easier for us with the creation of a device you can stick in your bag.

The gadget will be able to track and monitor health and hormones on the go and can work to identify symptoms that could help diagnose common female health conditions, like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

It will even be able to send alerts to women about their symptoms to let them know if they need to see a doctor.

Scientists are developing portable women's health device
Credit: Getty

The project is being led by Dr Sadeque Reza Khan, a specialist in biomedical devices and sensing at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, and is funded by the Scottish Government.  

Dr Khan is working with viO HealthTech, whose OvuSense device provides continuous general monitoring of the reproductive cycle, and Dr Ruchi Gupta from the University of Birmingham, an expert in developing biosensors. 

Why develop it? 

Scientists are developing portable women's health device
Credit: Getty

According to the most recent figures available, there were 30,805 people waiting for an outpatient appointment for gynaecology services at the end of January 2022 in Ireland.

While in the UK where the device is being developed, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists reported that the waiting list for gynaecology appointments, diagnosis and treatment has soared up to 60% recently.

This is exactly why Dr Khan and her team started their project; to tackle some of the problems relating to women’s health.

Dr Khan said: “We’re working on building a device that will be about half the size of an iPhone and completely portable. Women will be able to take it everywhere.  

“Women will be able to test both blood and urine, as well as record symptoms, which will provide the most accurate and real-time picture of their health.  

“The device will transfer key data wirelessly to an app and share it with a gynaecologist.”

How long do we have to wait?

Scientists are developing portable women's health device
Credit: Getty

The team have been working on the Scottish Government-funded project for the last six months.

Once they have proof of concept they’ll shift their focus to making it commercially available to the public, a process that can take between two to three years.